Some conclusions seem tempting to make at times like these. The natural one being English football is well on the up. Let’s investigate.
Four English clubs in both European club finals. Manchester City and Liverpool both coming second and third in the Premier League all time points records, only beaten by City’s total the previous season.
Are English teams finally going to compete in Europe? Supporting throughout my childhood and teen years, it seemed that a top English team getting beaten by any team such as Bayern, Barcelona or Real was almost a shoe-in. You had a few times, exceptional times, such as Chelsea beating Barcelona in the quarters courtesy of Fernando Torres, then beating Bayern courtesy of Drogba to win the champions league in 2012, but these seemed like giant killings of Biblical order.
Even the Manchester City of recent years couldn’t hack it against the heavy weights. This year, however, Spurs and Liverpool have outplayed the best of them.
Only PSG scored more than Manchester City this season (100 vs 95) but they don’t really count. Barcelona came close (88) who scored less than Liverpool in second (89). I know next to nothing about the on-field tactics of the game, few people who aren’t players ever do, and that’s the ugly stuff for the players to worry about. I’m the same as most fans of the game, all I care about is excitement, and that means teams who show character, and that means goals.
Consider a future Ronaldo or Messi. Where would you want to go?
City are about to pick up the domestic treble (£££), and they have arguably the most successful manager of all time at the helm, a man who seems to radiate benevolence to his players. Who else is the most liked manager in the world? It’s hardly Sarri or Zidane, it’s Jurgen Klopp, the manager of a team who is heavily odds on to pick up the most sought after club trophy in world football next month. Not to mention Pochettino, who is less engaging than Jurgen and Pep, but he’s still got that weird, gentlemen-genius factor, and exudes more suavity (dare I say nearly as much as Gareth).
If this Ronaldo, Messi figure chooses to go to Spain, it will be because of the outdoor swimming pools, not for his career.
For years and years every man and his hamster has been repeating the adage that we have the best league in the world. For starters, the clubs are all so close together due to our small size, making any away visit possible. It has most of the world’s talented footballers, and will likely attract even more in the seasons to come. Clubs generally favour a very fast and attacking style.
Moreover, it is so exciting compared to others because it has been so competitive, Leicester City won it three years ago, for the love of Christ. A couple of years ago you could have guessed a title winner from Chelsea/Liverpool/Arsenal/United/City/Spurs and their odds would all have been relatively even. It’s not like other leagues haven’t been competitive, just ask Atletico Madrid and Montpellier, but the Premier League was about as fluid as it gets.
That’s not the way of things anymore, no side even close to the top 2. Manchester United, the biggest club in world football, have Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at the back and are being embarrassed by Paul Pogba every weekend, Chelsea are a recruitment experiment gone wrong, Arsenal have got an identity disorder. And that gulf is set to be widening ever greater, what we once saw as the greatest league in the world is skyrocketing, and it could be for the worst.
Let’s hope another underdog can pull something off soon eh, would expect nothing less from the best league in the world.